Saturday, May 24, 2008

More than Bush: The U.S. on the Couch

The Daily Burkeman 1
Thu, 15 May 2008 06:23 EDT

In writing yesterday's post on a few basic operating truisms of American foreign policy I was reminded of a blog post that compared the underlying ideas and motivations of US foreign policy to the malignant dementia that laid inside the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui.

Re-reading that post by Arthur Silber (which I highly recommend you read in full) I decided to see if there was any relation between how the US acts abroad and the clinical personality attributes of a sociopath.

I found this bullet list for profiling a sociopath. Let's take a look and see if there are any match ups.

Manipulative and Conning

They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

Ding. First match. The US does not even recognize defending oneself from US attack as permissible. We are a country that snatches people off the streets in sovereign foreign countries and spirits them out illegally to be tortured and perhaps murdered in the gulags and dungeons of third world client states. Other nations have no rights. Iran's right to nuclear power under signed treaty? Simply ignored by the US as it violates the Nuclear non proliferation treaty with complete impunity and even strong arms the UN to put mild sanctions on Iran for absolutely no justified reason. Afghanistan asks that the US provide evidence of OBL's complicity in 9/11 before they hand him over in accordance with ancient diplomatic protocols? Ignored and America was outraged that we were even asked to comply with such long established standards in diplomacy. What the US does is always permissible.

We recognize no bounds on our actions- even our own laws. Torture? Not torture when the US does it. Geneva convention? Ignored. We are not bound by what the rest of the world must be bound by.

How about the need to dominate and humiliate their victims? One need take no further look than to Saddam Hussein being shabbily humiliated (again- against the Geneva convention) as he was paraded before American Telescreens like a captured ape, humiliated repeatedly in captivity with leaks about his habits and behaviors, and then his disgusting execution at the hands of his political domestic enemies in a circus like atmosphere. But if one needs to look further then see also Slobodan Milosevic and Manuel Noreiga. And then, of course, is the torture regime personally approved by the President's men that has sexual humiliation and degradation as centerpieces and which continues on today unabated and quite illegally (and what the President says in a signing statement doesn't make it legal).

Pathological Lying

Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

An obvious match that almost deserves no comment. The lies, obvious lies, insulting lies are perhaps the most prominent thing one notices about this adminstration. (Note- when I mean "one" I mean people who are not cool aiding Bushbots. BOTS are too far removed from anything resembling reality to even consider them as sentient humans). They even lie about their lies.

But it isn't just the administration. It is all of the Beltway and our elite and most Americans who have managed to ignore the evidence of experience and still insist on operating from an elaborate complex web of lies in foreign policy that date well back into the 80's. And as all actions taken by the US (especially in Iraq) are based upon these lies- they are DOOMED to yet more failure.

And what is "nation building" itself if not the ultimate form of lying to oneself and attributing to yourself superhero powers?

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

In this administration? Remorse? Shame? Guilt? You got to be kidding me. Not a spec. But this isn't just an attribute of the Bush Junta. This is endemic throughout American society. Remorse, shame, and guilt are things to be overcome in therapy in American society. They are emotions to be squelched with happy pills. They are weaknesses. They are "unfair".

But keeping this strictly limited to a discussion of our political class- those are emotions that are only assumed as a last resort and quite disingenuously and only if all other "options" failed first- those other "options" being . . . denial, lying, cries of hypocrisy, and counter accusations (almost always false and always besides the point) against your accusers.

Grandiose Sense of Self

Do any other countries refer to themselves as the "indispensable nation"? As a "Shining city on a Hill?" As the "last best hope of mankind?" Left, Right, liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat. America is the center of the world. To our elite- America is the culmination of all human societal evolution. We are what was intended by whatever force controls destiny! We judge the actual worth of every other country and culture on Earth to how closely or distantly they are from matching up to American civilization. We are the benchmark for the world.

Comment: As myth goes, actually Israel is the "benchmark for the world", America comes next. Sorry...

Sociopath America doesn't give a turd about the rest of the world. Doesn't care what happens in it and is only dimly aware an outside world exists. And what there is of this slender reed of ignorant knowledge of the outside world is about "enemies" seeking to "kill us".

Events that occur outside this country are only of interest to Americans insofar as they involve us in even a slight way. Burma cyclone? There cannot be a story about it without literally half of it being about us and our reaction to it and how awesome we are to "care".

Comment: The US government goes to great lengths to show it cares!

Anyway- I digress a bit. Back to the "indispensable nation". Let's use Maddie Albright as an example of standard insano sociopath rhetoric that routinely pours forth from the mouths of our politicians:

If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.

Yikes. Let's put that into the mouth of a co-worker at the corporate cubby hole slave pen you toil away at? You are eating lunch at the food court and all of a sudden George, the quiet dumpy guy from accounting, says:

"If I have to use force, it is because I am me. I am the indispensable employee. I stand tall. I see further into the future."

I don't know about you but my reaction to George's statement would be to report his demented ass to HR and plan an escape route from the office cube maze for when he goes on a workplace killing spree. But when such insane Cho Hui Seung lines come out of the mouths of our elite Politicians we don't bat an eye and never think for a second how this is viewed by the rest of the world.

And that Albright quote is pretty tame fare actually for a Sociopath America politician. Bush claims God instructs him to attack nations! For a more rabid sociopath performance see this speech by Zell Miller at the 2004 GOP convention. That speech is a perfect synopsis of the American pysche. Fully deranged beyond measure, utterly lacking in empathy, angry, paranoid, grandiose . . . a clinical text book example of a sociopath. By the way I am not saying Albright is a sociopath. Most of our politicians aren't (though there are a far higher percentage of such malignant personalities among them than in the general population.) She wouldn't dream of saying that about herself specifically and I doubt she exhibits in her personal life any of the major warning signs of a sociopath personality disorder.

But when it comes to the collective conscious of many Americans and our national self image- it is cuckoo time. We are stark raving mad. We are criminally insane. We accept statements about ourselves and the country from politicians that go far beyond just garden variety narcissism.

Shallow Emotions

Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person.

Several months ago a security cam tape emerged of a young mother, whose 4 year old had been on a wild tantrum, spraying the child with the low pressure power washer at a "do-it-yourself" carwash. At roughly the same time a peer reviewed academic/medical study placed the number of Iraqi civilian premature deaths since the American invasion at 1 million souls.

The study received almost no MSM coverage. The sprayed child however outraged Americans from coast to coast and was broadcast ad nauseum for over a week.

This is typical. DC's little proxy state in the ME, Israel, murders 1800 Lebanese civilians from the air and the country yawns. Iran's President says "gays" don't exist in his country and it is national talk radio cud for days.

What of government itself and not just society at large in this regard? Well, let's see; while George Bush basically violates entire swaths of laws and provisions of the constitution- while evidence lies exposed on the floor of his myriad crimes and even treason Congressmen and Senators are preening before cameras while badgering baseball players about what sorts power bars they eat and shakes they drink.

I could sit here all day and write lists of the truly monumental trivia Congress finds the time to "investigate" while a President brings us back to an era of legal witch doctorism and concentrations of political power not seen since the Pharaohs. But I won't bore you to death.

There is more, much more! This is just the appetizer of what could end up being a three parter. . . . stay tuned for "USA: Sociopath Nation, Part Two", no later than Monday . . .

USA: Sociopath Nation Part II

I said I would post Part II of "USA: Sociopath Nation" by no later than Monday . . . but forgive me as my sustenance must come before this blog.

Where were we? Ah yes, listing the clinical attributes and behaviors of a text book sociopath to those of the United States federal government and to a lessor extent society at large.

Well, let's jump right back in . . .

Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, [and no concern for the impression on others this attitude produces.]

Does there exist a country more convinced of its brilliance and more sure of its power to achieve literally anything? Our political elite recognizes no limits to its power, no limits to what is within its purview.

What isn't the business of the United States is the question, not {what is?}. I posted recently about how the Pentagon has literally divided up the world into strategic "Commands" and assigned a whole bureaucracy to each one, including a parallel diplomatic division to the civilian State Department. Every square inch of real estate and every cubic meter of water on this planet is covered by one of these "Command" zones.

A cyclone hits Burma {Myanmar} and the junta doesn't grant the US military a free pass in and out of the country for "relief" operations? Why then! It is time for our most serious and respected of pundits to float invasion and nation building plans! Nothing is not our business and nothing - including managing and transforming a country our elite know even less about than Iraq (if that is even possible)- is beyond our capability.

Here we have Robert Kaplan, having learned absolutely nothing clamoring and baying for a nation building war against Iraq, actually toying with the idea of invading and nation building Burma as well. Don't worry though. He appears to have read a whole Wikipedia entry on Burma before he wrote this column.

My favorite all time column that perfectly encapsulates this insanely blithe attitude toward managing distant peoples and nations and cultures though has to be "Exporting Switzerland, The model Iraq needs to follow" by the boy wonder of National Review, Jonah Goldberg. This column, which you must read to believe, written shortly after the formal shooting "war" with Saddam's army had ended in April of 2003 is depressingly perfect for this example of the "all-knowing" and "all-powerful" attributes of the sociopath. Goldberg just announces that now that the war is won he thinks- abra cadabra, presto, that Iraq should be made into Switzerland!

Oh ok Jonah. Why didn't we think of that for Detroit? Yeah. Thank you Jonah. Now sit down. It is finger painting time! Good lord! And I used to read that magazine with relish every two weeks for 15 years.

Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause.

We can find out the names, including middle initial, of every American soldier who has been killed in Iraq in seconds. We can also find out exactly where he was killed, what day, what hour, and the circumstances under which he died. We can find out numerous info about American wounded in Iraq. How many, what types of wound, what sorts of treatment they are receiving . . . the amount of info and data available to us on American casualties in Iraq is staggering.

But Iraqi dead? Nothing. We "don't do body counts" for them. They are so worthless to us we don't even track how many have died. Well- some websites do but not our government officially. Bush once said he thought it was something like 30 thousand had died. That was 2 years ago. And that of course was a laughable underestimation. Iraq has been destroyed. Our government does not keep count and when independent studies come out right wing groups attack them with sophistry and spray rhetorical turd mist around their numbers while offering ludicrous numbers they pulled out of their asses. All this time - our government and military doesn't say anything which tells us all we need to know about who is telling the truth. About Afghanistan civilian dead we know even less. Somalia? Less still. Millions displaced - perhaps as much as 7 million taking Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia in to consideration. And how many dead? A million? Two million? We don't know, don't want to know, and don't care.

But a hundred thousand people get killed in Darfur and a few hundred thousand more refugees? Oh - that our "left wing" actors care about. That is the fraud cause de juor we are supposed to be all concerned about. Oh - and Tibet. A couple protesters were killed in Tibet a month back dontcha know! Sanctions on China!

The US government has stats on the populations of endangered varieties of slugs. But official stats on Iraqis war dead? Nope.

That goes back to the sociopath attribute in the first part of this essay last week . . . "indifference to major traumatic events while becoming enraged at minor matters."

[See the section on "The Hysteriodal Cycle" in Ponerology.]

Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

Who is responsible for Iraq today? Who made it the way it is today? Well, reading our media and listening to our government the list is a long one. But it doesn't include us. Not for a second. We are blameless . . . for everything. "Blame America First"? We never blame ourselves for anything! That is one of those inane phrases that reich wingers chant in response to any real world analysis of American foreign policy and that is their argument . . . in toto. That stupid phrase.

Why did we invade Iraq? Well Saddam was lying about having WMD. He was lying that he did have them to scare Iran. If only he had told us he didn't have them we would not have invaded! It's Saddam's fault!

That is actually an argument you come across among the more retarded of Bush and Neoconned faithful- that Saddam lied so well about having WMD when he didn't that we were fooled and invaded him. Saddam's fault. Amazing that anyone could believe that crap? Not amazing if your collective conscious is that of a sociopath.

Who else is to blame? Oh yeah- France. France was "paid off" by Saddam in pennies under the "Oil for Food" program so they let his regime survive.

More? Yup. Iran is too blame. And Syria. And Moooslims in general. Even Iraqis themselves are to blame. The US actually accuses Iran of "meddling" in Iraq. The US, which is 6000 miles away for Iraq, which flies in most of its supplies to Iraq for its armies which are squatting there based on lies, has the balls to accuse Iran of "meddling" with its next door freakin neighbor as if it is none of their business!

By the way. The US accuses Iran, without a shred of believable or even coherent evidence, of "undermining" the Iraq government and aiding "terrorists" while at the same time the US passes bills in public that authorize funds for the . . . undermining of Iran's government and the aiding of terrorists in their country! That isn't sick deranged weird behavior? That isn't insane?

Anyone else get the blame? Yep. The Iraqi people. They are to blame. Which leads us to this compliment to the attribute of the sociopath directly above.

Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude, and love.)

Americans actually expect to be thanked by the occupants of foreign countries we invade spreading death, chaos, misery, and suffering. Our Neocons expected flowers to be thrown at Americans when they entered Baghdad (after 50 years of playing the most cynical and self serving of games with that country that had directly caused untold suffering on just about every family in Iraq). There wasn't a rational reason in the world to believe this would be the case. Even opponents of Saddam who liked Western ways hated the United States for murderous policies of the last half century toward that country. They had to fly in Iraqi ex-pat Quislings to topple Saddam's statue for American TeeVee cameras!

In the 1960's war epic movie The Longest Day there is a scene where a Frenchman is shown cheering on the American invasion of Normandy while bombs explode all around him. I guess he didn't have to worry as they were "liberty bombs". That is how Americans literally expect foreigners to behave when we invade and murder them from the air- cheering on their own deaths and destruction like that fictional Frenchman in some sappy dumb-assed H-wood World War II fantasy movie.

And we are enraged when they don't thank us.

Here is Neocon and an Israel Firsting traitor, Daniel Pipes, in response to a question about the biggest lesson he learned from the Iraq war in April of 2006:

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the Iraq war?

A: The ingratitude of the Iraqis for the extraordinary favor we gave them -- to release them from the bondage of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. They have rapidly interpreted it as something they did and that we were incidental to it. They've more or less written us out of the picture.

Yes. He said that. Let's repeat that:

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the Iraq war?

A:The ingratitude of the Iraqis for the extraordinary favor we gave them . . .

Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the "biggest lesson" Daniel, "Middle East Expert", Pipes learned was that the Iraqi people are ingrates? And with that ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you my diagnosis . . .

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